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Herbert Smith Freehills retains 22 of 32 autumn qualifying trainees

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One on fixed-term deal

Herbert Smith Freehills’ London office

Herbert Smith Freehills (HSF) has recorded an autumn retention rate of 69%, keeping 22 out of 32 qualifying trainees.

The silver circle firm said it received 29 applications and made 22 offers all of which were accepted. They are being retained on permanent deals, except for one rookie who is on a fixed-term contract in Moscow.

New associates can expect to earn up to £105,000 (inclusive of bonus) upon qualification after the firm took the decision in June not to cut NQ pay in spite of the uncertain financial climate brought about by COVID-19. Legal Cheek estimates that HSF’s base rate sits at around £93,000.

“In light of the unprecedented uncertainty caused by COVID-19, we have offered fewer NQ positions this September than usual,” a firm spokesperson said. “This has been a very difficult decision made in very specific circumstances. Retaining our trainee talent remains a key priority for the firm.”

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Earlier this year the firm chalked up a spring score of 84%, keeping 27 out of 32 trainees. In the last autumn round it retained 71%, holding on to 27 out of 38 new qualifiers.

Today’s news means that three out of five of the silver circle have so far released their retention scores. Macfarlanes announced this week that it will keep 22 out of 25, or 88%, of its final-seat trainees, while Travers Smith said in June it will retain 17 out of 19, or 89%, of qualifying trainees. Ashurst and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner are yet to reveal their results.

In other HSF-related news, the firm took the decision in June to delay the start dates of its incoming trainees by six months in response to the pandemic, and in exchange for £8,000.

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